Warriors sweep Vanguard to tighten grip on top of standings

Series with Master's this weekend
By: Rachel Constantini for the Placer Herald/News Messenger
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COSTA MESA – The William Jessup University baseball team made a convincing statement over the weekend, sweeping the only other nationally-ranked Golden State Athletic Conference opponent on the road, Vanguard University.

Jessup was able to overcome early deficits to finalize the last win, putting them at 24-6 overall and 15-2 in GSAC play.

In game one, Will Law hit a solo homer in the top of the first inning. Pitcher Tristan Tristan Prybylinski then went three-up, three-down on the mound in the bottom of the first.

In the second, the Warriors got a pair of singles from Steve Pastora and Noah Shackles. Kawai Takemura then doubled to drive in Pastora for a 2-0 advantage.

WJU continued in the third frame when Austen Swift hit an RBI double to drive in Law. Pastora then joined Swift on the bases and Josh Duitsman doubled in both.

Takemura followed to put the ball into play and score Duitsman that gave William Jessup a 6-0 early lead.

The Lions managed to cut the lead to 6-4 heading into the seventh inning, but Jessup answered. With bases loaded, Sam Curtis (Rocklin HS) walked to bring home Shackles. Duitsman scored on Cal Koga's sacrifice fly and Law singled to score Takemura and give the Warriors a 9-4 lead.

In the top of the ninth, Joe Howell and Swift both scored for a Jessup 11-4 advantage. 

Relief pitcher Tyler Fujimoto secured the win in the bottom of the ninth. 

In a drizzle, the Warriors fell behind the Lions 2-0 early. It wasn't until the top of the fourth that Jessup found their familiar rhythm.

Pastora doubled and took third on a wild pitch. He scored on Shackles' RBI single. Singles from Duitsman and Takemura brought home the tying run, and Alex Nasukiewicz's base hit scored Duitsman for a 3-2 Warriors’ lead.

Vanguard tied the game, but the Warriors came alive in the top of the fifth.

Shackle's single scored Law and Joe Starick, giving Jessup the 5-3 edge. By the end of the inning, Jessup led 7-3.

The Lions closed the gap to 7-5, but that was as close as Vanguard could get. 

"That was a hard-fought series and I'm proud of our group for finding different ways to win games,” said WJU head coach Jake McKinley. “The effort was stellar all weekend and several different contributors chipped in.

"I'm proud of our players for their continued relentlessness in the practice and game settings. It's a privilege to be around them every day and we all look forward to preparing for a very good Master's team."

The Warriors came home to beat Simpson University 8-1 in a nonconference tilt Monday.

The Master's University (10-7, 17-10) invades McBean Stadium for a doubleheader Saturday (noon and 3 p.m.), weather permitting. A 1 p.m. finale is scheduled for Sunday. 

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